Screening the Champions League and tempting customers from their couches and into the pub brings great opportunities and, potentially, even greater rewards. There are multiple games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between now and the beginning of December providing plenty of opportunity to get customers in on those traditionally quiet midweek nights.
As Matt Stretton, Deputy General Manager at Soar Point in Leicester told us, making game nights a real event can draw in the crowds, “For major competitions like the Champions League we have a party atmosphere in here,” he said, “If there’s a Spanish fanbase in the pub it can feel like a carnival. They really go to town when they celebrate. It’s brilliant.”
BT Sport is the exclusive home of live European club football so we want to help you take advantage and let your customers know that you’re the place to be on Champions League nights. Take in our Twitter tactics to help you get noticed by customers on social media, and also ensure you’re promoting the games inside and outside your venue using our point of sale kit and your chalkboards. You can order a bonus UEFA point of sale pack to promote all European games for a limited time here.
This season the competition sees six British sides in action in the group stage, the most since the 2007/08 campaign, when Manchester United memorably saw off Chelsea in the final. This time around, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Celtic will fly the flag for Britain.
Some cracking games await all the British teams. Celtic’s opening fixture against the Neymar-injected Paris Saint Germain on Matchday one (12 September) certainly stands out. Liverpool face arguably their toughest opponent, Sevilla, the following night (13 September) at Anfield. Chelsea’s visit to serial losing finalists Atletico Madrid on Matchday Two (27 September) is another to catch the eye.
Group H has been designated this year’s Group of Death, as Tottenham Hotspur have to go up against reigning champions Real Madrid, plus Germany’s exciting Borussia Dortmund and Apoel FC of Cyprus. Spurs’ double-header against Real on Matchday’s Three and Four (17 October/1 November) could prove decisive.
Other matches not involving British sides to look out for include Juventus’ clash with Barcelona on 22 November and Bayern Munich’s mouth-watering game against PSG on 5 December.
But don’t just take our word for it. Over the last two years we’ve been talking to bar managers and publicans who know how to make the most of screening live sport. Their tried and tested tips and ideas for getting customers in on Champions League games might just give you the inspiration to try something new.
Encourage your Continental Cousins to come in
Champions League games appeal to fans and neutrals alike so ensure you make your pub the destination of choice for football fans in your area. You might even draw crowds you didn’t expect, something Phillip Cutter Licensee of the Murderers pub in Norwich can attest to.
He told us that, “the University of East Anglia has a lot of foreign students, so we’ll have Spaniards coming in to watch Barcelona, Real Madrid and what have you.” Apparently last season’s Champions League final (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid) saw the Norfolk Spanish Society making the Murderers their home for the night.
The Black Dog in Manchester hands out free pizza at half time and rolls out drinks promotions including five bottles of Tuborg for £10 on Champions League nights.
General Manager James Horrocks spoke to us about the importance of being prepared. He said, “We pay attention to the games, particularly the bigger games. So when we place our drinks orders we’ll look at what football fixtures are on that week to make sure we have enough alcohol in to serve the customers. We offer five bottles of Corona for £12.50 or five bottles of Tuborg for £10 throughout the games. So for big games we need to make sure we’ve got enough of those drinks in and that the bar is fully stocked.”
Dan Cramp from The Three Crowns in Leicestershire, celebrated Leicester City’s Champions League adventure by serving Spanish-themed food and drink evening when the Foxes played Sevilla last season. Some clever social media chat and offers on Rioja and Estrella, plus offering a range of tapas, meant the pub was packed.
Manchester’s Joshua Brooks bar extends its membership scheme prices for all when it comes to midweek European football. The Sandon in Liverpool offers tickets for its VIP area where table service is in operation; ensuring customers don’t miss a second of the action.
Liverpool’s Camp & Furnace will often screen classic European games before kick-off to get the atmosphere building nicely, and ensure that people come in early to soak it up.
As well as its other European successes, Norwich’s The Murderers runs a last goalscorer raffle for big football games as well as promotions on European beers.
The ever-experimental Phillip Cutter says, “We do the last goalscorer raffle tickets for the big tournaments and some one-off big games. It’s quite simple to do. The first 90 people through the door get a raffle ticket. The customer holding the ticket denoting the minute the last goal is scored wins a prize. Sometimes some of the brewers sponsor it. It’s just another fun thing to add into the mix. It ensures people hang around until the last minute – or it gives them a reason to stay anyway.”
Matchday One: 12-13 September
Manchester United v Basel
Celtic v PSG
Chelsea v Qarabag
Liverpool v Sevilla
Feyenoord v Manchester City
Spurs v Borussia Dortmund
Matchday Two: 26-27 September
Spartak Moscow v Liverpool
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk
Apoel FC v Spurs
CSKA Moscow v Manchester United
Anderlecht v Celtic
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea
Matchday Three: 17-18 October
Maribor v Liverpool
Manchester City v Napoli
Real Madrid v Spurs
Benfica v Manchester United
Bayern Munich v Celtic
Chelsea v Roma
Matchday Four: 31 October-1 November
Manchester United v Benfica
Celtic v Bayern Munich
Roma v Chelsea
Liverpool v Maribor
Napoli v Manchester City
Spurs v Real Madrid
Matchday Five: 21-22 November
Sevilla v Liverpool
Manchester City v Feyenoord
Borussia Dortmund v Spurs
Basel v Manchester United
PSG v Celtic
Qarabag v Chelsea
Matchday Six: 5-6 December
Manchester United v CSKA Moscow
Celtic v Anderlecht
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid
Liverpool v Spartak Moscow
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City
Spurs v Apoel FC